Celebrating 10 years as ExcelinEd’s flagship initiative, the National Summit on Education Reform convenes the nation’s leaders in education policy to share what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in education. From November 29 – December 1, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, ExcelinEd’s chairman, Governor Jeb Bush, hosted nearly 1,100 state and national policymakers, education leaders and advocates. For two comprehensive days attendees shared and learned about new trends, successful policies, evolving laws and the latest innovations that are transforming education for the 21st century.
View the agenda and session videos for 2017 below.
#EIE17 Keynote and General Strategy Sessions
Keynote: Governor Jeb Bush
ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque welcomed attendees to the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform on Thursday, November 30, in Nashville, Tennessee. Students from the Nashville Classical Charter School led the Pledge of Allegiance before ExcelinEd Chair Governor Jeb Bush officially opened #EIE17. Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Director of the Walton Family Foundation, joined Governor Bush for a Q&A session following his remarks.
Keynote: The Honorable Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education
The Honorable Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform in Nashville, Tennessee on November 30, 2017. Secretary DeVos shared her perspective on how the federal government can support states in ensuring equity while expanding opportunity and innovation. Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam joined Secretary DeVos in a Q&A Session.
General Session: Competing Against Luck with Professor Clayton Christensen
Professor Christensen spoke about his research and theories on disruption and innovation in business to invoke a different way of thinking about how we deliver education. He challenged attendees to measure their lives not by numbers, but instead how they have helped put others on the path to becoming a better version of themselves. Jon Schnur, Executive Chairman of America Achieves joined Professor Christensen for a Q&A Session. View Professor Christensen’s presentation.
Keynote: Equipping Students for Success in a Technology-Driven Economy with Hadi Partovi
Hadi Partovi shared his insights into today’s technology-based economy, the eruption of automation and potential of artificial intelligence, and the impact of these disruptive innovations on the job market. To prepare for this reality and empower students to engage with their world, he explained that education leaders must equip schools to expand opportunities for all students and ready them for a career in a technology-based economy. ExcelinEd Chair Governor Jeb Bush joined Mr. Partovi for a Q&A Session. View Hadi Partovi’s presentation, Artificial Intelligence: The future of our workforce and how K-12 education can prepare for it.
General Session: The Search for Opportunity: Real Faces of Education Choice
For far too many parents across the nation, struggle with the reality of sending their children, day after day, to schools that cannot or will not meet their needs. During this session, Mr. Stewart moderated a panel featuring the personal stories from Kelley Williams-Bolar, Ohio parent of two; Briana Gilchrist, New Jersey Charter School Alumnus; Whitney Smith, Tennessee parent of three; Cristina Maxwell, Florida parents of a Gardiner Scholarship Student; Walter Blanks, Ohio EdChoice Scholarship Alumnus; Theresa Canady, Indiana parent of charter school students; and Charlonda Brown, North Carolina parent of an Opportunity Scholarship student. This panel discussed the very real side of reform, and the lives impacted.
Keynote : Getting Students the Education They Deserve with Dr. Steve Perry and Closing Remarks from Gov. Jeb Bush
Dr. Perry believes that the success of a life is determined by where you end, not where you start. It is this philosophy that inspired him to transform the lives of poor and minority children. As a strong advocate of personal and civic responsibility, he inspired an audience of state legislators, policymakers and education reform advocates to transform outdated education systems in their states and provide all students with access to a quality education through opportunity and innovation.
Session titles below link to a full video of the strategy session. Panelist names link to presentations, if available.
For more than a century, public education in America meant one thing: a government-run, geographically-assigned school. But this definition is evolving with a steady increase in the number of public and private options available to families at public expense. Is this trend likely to continue? If so, what are the benefits to parents? What challenges must be addressed when moving from a system of uniform district schools to a decentralized system of parent-driven diversity? An esteemed panel of experts will discuss these issues and many others that face the future of educational options in America.
Moderator: Martin West, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Ashley Berner, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy
- Derrell Bradford, Executive Director, NYCAN
- John Katzman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Noodle Companies
- Andrew Smarick, Morgridge Fellow in Education, American Enterprise Institute
Personalized learning offers an exciting possibility for every state, school and classroom: maximizing each student’s potential for learning and preparing all students for success. In some states, personalized learning innovation and pilot programs are already in place—leading the way for the broader systemic changes necessary to fully scale and sustain implementation statewide. In this session, hear from educators and education leaders about the building momentum for personalized learning across the country and explore ExcelinEd’s latest findings on this topic.
Moderator: Jim Shelton, President of Education, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
- Angela Stallings, Deputy Superintendent of Policy and Communication, Utah State Board of Education
- Anthony Townsend, Principal, Locust Grove High School, Georgia
- Matt Williams, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, KnowledgeWorks
Will the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) be a game changer in advancing achievement for all students? Two years after ESSA was enacted, all eyes are on the plans states developed and submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April and September of 2017. Join this session to learn about the changing national landscape on school accountability. Our expert panel will discuss state policies that are advancing equity and student achievement, the greatest opportunities and obstacles states face as they move to implement their ESSA plans, the biggest surprises about the process, and predictions about the future of ESSA’s impact on student learning.
Moderator: John Fischer, Senior Program Officer in the U.S. Policy, Advocacy and Communications Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Chad Aldeman, Principal, Bellwether Education Partners
- Christy Hovanetz, Ph.D., Senior Policy Fellow for Accountability, ExcelinEd
- Lillian Lowery, D., Vice President for PreK-12 Policy, Research and Practice, The Education Trust
- Christopher Rinkus, Special Assistant in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
Educational choice has long been a way to match students with environments that fit their unique learning needs. Yet, the role of choice and opportunity in special education is a topic of growing debate. For many parents, choice programs have been a lifeline—creating an opportunity for families to find options outside of a system that often prioritizes compliance over meeting student needs. Even so, some have perceived these programs as a threat to hard-fought efforts to provide students with disabilities access to an appropriate public education. This session will tackle these concerns and provide an in-depth look at how choice programs are working for students with special needs.
Moderator: Tim Keller, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
- Michael Lee, Senator, North Carolina State Senate
- Annette Lizardo, Florida Parent & Gardiner Scholarship Parent Advisory Council Member
- Robin Sweet, Executive Director, Gateway Academy
- Sivan Tuchman, Ph.D., Research Analyst, Center on Reinventing Public Education
How does your state fund student learning? Do you know how much money each school spends per student, or why some schools see better results for the same funding? Are schools in control of their funds? If a student moves midyear, does funding follow the student to the new school? Some states—like Colorado, Georgia and Texas—are creating online tools to answers these critical questions, making school funding comparisons easy and providing actionable information for schools and parents. Join this expert panel to learn the steps policymakers can take to prioritize financial transparency and make education funding more effective in their states.
Moderator: Lisa Snell, Director of Education and Child Welfare, Reason Foundation
- Marguerite Roza, Ph.D., Director of the Edunomics Lab, Georgetown University
- Luke Ragland, President, Ready Colorado
- Dave Belton, Representative, Georgia State House of Representatives
- Lori Taylor, Ph.D., Director of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy, Texas A&M University
Too many students graduate from high school without the skills necessary to successfully pursue a career. Meanwhile, many state offerings in education are not aligned to the skills students and employers need. This skills gap has a significant effect on everyone from families and employers to our states and economy. In this session, learn how states can successfully navigate career pathways for students to ensure students are acquiring skills that are in demand and relevant in the global economy. Panelists will discuss the latest data behind the power of industry credentials, how to align state education offerings to workforce demand and how businesses are addressing the skills gap.
- Juan Garcia, Global Leader for Career Advancement, Amazon
- Danielle Mezera, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, DCM Consulting
- Jon Schnur, Executive Chairman, America Achieves
- Matthew Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer, Burning Glass Technologies
Recent research and promising practices have begun to reveal the science behind social emotional learning and its impact on students’ academic success. What are the essential skills and mindsets that empower students to succeed? How can schools and communities integrate these skills with their academic curricula so students can manage themselves, think critically, collaborate with others and resolve conflicts? In this session, we will explore policies that can help ensure all schools—especially those serving students who have experienced adversity—have the evidenced-based strategies to ensure students are ready to succeed and become lifelong learners. Join us to learn about the science behind social-emotional learning and successfully-implemented practices.
- Pamela Cantor,M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Turnaround for Children
- Dale Erquiaga, President and Chief Executive Officer, Communities In Schools
- John Widmer, Senior Director of School Culture, KIPP Foundation
- Antwan Wilson, Chancellor, DC Public Schools
According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, only 329 new charter schools opened across the United States in 2016, down from 640 new charters in 2013. Charter schools are still growing, but at a much slower rate than just a few years ago. Why are we seeing fewer new charter schools? What can policymakers do to ensure that new high-quality charter schools are able to open and serve families? Join this session for a conversation with researchers and state lawmakers to learn what is behind this trend and how states can address the need for more quality schools in our communities.
Moderator: Neerav Kingsland, Chief Executive Officer, Hastings Fund
- Richard Corcoran, Speaker, Florida State House of Representatives
- Robin Lake, Director, Center on Reinventing Public Education
- Michael McShane, Ph.D., Director of National Research, EdChoice
- Angela Williams, Senator, Colorado State Senate
Students who learn to code will play an integral part in growing our nation’s next-generation economy. And more and more states, districts and schools are recognizing that computer science education is critical to preparing students for college and career. This session offers attendees a look at real-world solutions for both preparing teachers to teach computer science and providing opportunities for all students to learn computer coding. Through national programs and state-specific initiatives, this panel session reveals that bringing Silicon Valley to the classroom is no longer a question of “How?” or “When?”, but rather, “What are you waiting for?”
Moderator: Garrett Johnson, Co-founder, Lincoln Network
- Yuanxia Ding, Vice President of Strategy and Business Operations, Opportunity@Work
- Anthony Owen, State Director of Computer Science, Arkansas Department of Education
- Hadi Partovi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Code.org
- Kevin Wang, Founder, TEALS Program
In recent years, there has been a spike in reports of teacher shortages nationwide. However, a deep dive into the data reveals that teacher supplies vary greatly across states, communities and subject areas. The most acute shortages involve hard-to-staff subjects—such as STEM and special education—and are concentrated in schools serving low-income, rural and minority students. In this session, our expert panel will examine the extent of the shortage across states and offer state-level solutions to building a diverse, high-quality teaching force to meet students’ needs.
- Elisa Villanueva Beard, Chief Executive Officer, Teach For America
- Dan Goldhaber, Director of the Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington
- Ken Wagner, Ph.D., Commissioner, Rhode Island Department of Education
- Kate Walsh, President, National Council on Teacher Quality
The impact of private school choice on the different components of an excellent education—including academic achievement, diversity, fiscal effectiveness, parent satisfaction, civic values and social capital—has been broadly researched. However, there’s no single narrative on what the research says about the advantages and challenges of private school choice. In this panel, hear a spin-free explanation of the findings from expert researchers and learn how these findings can help inform your work to expand high-quality education options for all students.
Moderator: Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
- Matthew Chingos, Ph.D., Director of the Education Policy Program, Urban Institute
- Benjamin Scafidi, Ph.D., Director of the Education Economics Center, Kennesaw State University
- Thomas Stewart, Ph.D., President, Patten University
- Patrick Wolf, Ph.D., 21st Century Chair in School Choice, University of Arkansas
Ensuring that each student can read by the end of the third grade is key to a child’s—and a state’s—success. And failure to meet this goal will result in serious, yet preventable, education and economic problems for both. The good news is that states across the country are establishing comprehensive and proven K-3 literacy policies to identify struggling readers early and put at-risk students on the path to a brighter future. In this session, learn about the newest findings in early literacy and how state chiefs are doubling down to improve reading outcomes for all students.
- Mark Johnson, Superintendent, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
- Candice McQueen, Ph.D., Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education
- Molly Spearman, Superintendent, South Carolina Department of Education
- Marcus Winters, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Education, Boston University
Competency-based education vs. personalized learning. School choice vs. educational opportunity. Word choice is crucial—not only to communicate effectively, but also because each term has its own set of connotations, both positive and negative. Recent research is identifying the messages and wording that resonate most with today’s audiences of student-centered reform. But more than choosing the right words, it’s also important to match them to the right audience and have credible storytellers to make the message go even further. Join this session to learn how to tap the power of messages that work to advance education reform in your state.
Moderator: Jessie Connelly, Managing Director, Echelon Insights
- Cris Charbonneau, Vice President of Communications, KnowledgeWorks
- Laurie Lee, Managing Partner, Trace Strategies
- Meredith Olson, Vice President of Public Affairs, Koch Companies Public Sector